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Life Arts

"26 Random Acts of Kindness" Goes Viral

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Like so many others, I got inspired by the idea of turning grief into an action that felt good. For each of my 26 random acts, I enclosed a note in an envelope with a little gift.

I had intended to leave them on windshields of cars parked at the mall one evening, but it was drizzling rain, so I drove around the parking lot, looking for people returning to their cars. I drove close enough to tell them, "Hello!  I am doing Random Acts of Kindness this season and I have a little gift for you!"

Most everyone was a little hesitant at first, but then broke into a smile and thanks when what I said registered, as I handed them the envelope.

All except the 8th person, my last gift on that first evening. He was a slightly rough looking guy, and was missing a couple of teeth. He was just backing his car out in a restaurant parking lot.

When I handed him the envelope, his eyes narrowed as he looked at me warily, and asked, "So, is this going to blow up in my face when I open it?"

I smiled, and said, "No - it is a gift to remind you that there is still good left in the world."

I was surprised at my words, they were not the kind of phrasing I would typically use. But they must have been right for his ears, because hIs face completely changed, and his quiet "wow" sounded like it came from a nearly forgotten place in his soul, as he suddenly started to cradle the envelope in his hands. When he looked up at me, I could see his spirit through his eyes, and part of me just wanted to hug him like I was his mama! But I just smiled and said, "Enjoy the season," and drove off.

When I looked back, his car was still paused in the middle of the parking lot, and he was opening the envelope.
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The gift was a tiny personal keyring flashlight with a red beam. (Made in the USA.)

Heartlight by Meryl Ann Butler

And the note said:

This gift is for you, from the heart!
I am honoring the bright lives of the 26 students and teachers who died at the Sandy Hook school, by doing 26 Random Acts of Kindness.
I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do, and then I discovered these sweet little flashlights.
They reminded me of the words in Neil Diamond's song, "Heartlight":

"Turn on your heartlight,
Let it shine wherever you go
Let it make a happy glow
For all the world to see."
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I love the idea that it only takes one tiny light to dispel the darkness.

I hope you enjoy your gift!

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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Good morning, dear darling MerylThank you so much ... by Sheila Parks on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 7:14:26 AM
one I posted above, does not work, alas, I get err... by Sheila Parks on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 7:18:13 AM
Sheila, if you have other info please send me an e... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 8:52:40 AM
Glad you liked it! And I am wishing you the happie... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 8:53:30 AM
Thanks, Meryl Ann, for this celebration of love an... by Lise Stoessel on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 8:08:46 AM
Yes, it is so refreshing to have stories like thes... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 8:54:47 AM
What a lovely little article that gets close to th... by Michael Gillespie on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 8:26:19 AM
Glad you liked it, and I hope all the blessings of... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 8:55:56 AM
Thanks Meryl Ann, I hadn't heard about this. It's ... by Greg Tamblyn on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 10:56:55 AM
Yes, I loved reading the other people's stories al... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 9:32:58 PM
MAB. It's pieces like this one that keep me kickin... by Gentry L Rowsey on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 11:51:18 AM
LOL! But if you are really nice I might let you ma... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 9:34:47 PM
This is my only Christmas post and wish: Each per... by Paul Repstock on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 1:44:44 PM
...both outer, and inner, that nurture the soul ..... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 9:37:03 PM
Truly lovely and much needed!!... by Linda Milazzo on Wednesday, Dec 26, 2012 at 12:19:12 PM
Glad you liked it, Linda, thanks for the comment!... by Meryl Ann Butler on Wednesday, Dec 26, 2012 at 12:25:01 PM
Meryl, I hope you remembered to add taking the tim... by Tsara Shelton on Thursday, Dec 27, 2012 at 7:20:52 PM
It was a RAK Christmas season for sure, and I love... by Meryl Ann Butler on Thursday, Dec 27, 2012 at 8:55:40 PM
Writing itself is a sharing of the Soul.  Is ... by Burl Hall on Friday, Dec 28, 2012 at 2:24:42 AM
I loved writing this, it felt like a way to help i... by Meryl Ann Butler on Saturday, Dec 29, 2012 at 5:02:11 PM
When the recent shootings happened so near Dec 21 ... by Theresa Paulfranz on Saturday, Dec 29, 2012 at 12:54:09 PM
understanding ... it was heartening to see. Since ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Saturday, Dec 29, 2012 at 4:54:31 PM